FinTech is as the word suggests is a fusion of financial services and technology, which encompasses all the financial services that can be delivered effectively, efficiently and securely through a digital mechanism. FinTech incorporates a variety of technology to achieve its objectives of transforming the traditional financial system and the manner in which the consumer interacts with such a system.
FinTech has drastically revolutionized several industries such as banking, trading, insurance, and risk management. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, FinTech made its presence known in the health sector by catering to the tremendous needs of conducting non-contact financial transactions.
A huge majority of the Indian population resides in remote rural villages and rural towns. There are very less registered medical practitioners in such areas. Due to the poor infrastructure, health, and lifestyle standards, there is a lack of financial resources necessary for registered medical practitioners or specialty hospitals to be established in such regions.
FinTech in the Healthcare sector has revolutionized the healthcare sector, especially for them who do not have easy access to healthcare. It has been feasible to consult healthcare professionals over long distances as well as a sound system of payment over digital means has been established. The sphere of complex and diverse financial transactions between multiple parties like medical practitioners, patients, hospitals and insurance companies the FinTech industry intends to serve in the Healthcare sector.
In this article we attempt to discuss how FinTech is helping to transform the Healthcare Sector in India and its advantages.
FINTECH TRANSFORMING HEALTH-TECH IN INDIA
- Mini Mohalla Kiosk
At each village, kiosks should be set up for the tracking of vitals which are used to measure the most basic functions of the human body. These kiosks are known as Mini Mohalla kiosks. Such kiosks already exist in some urban regions of India. However, it is most important to set up these kiosks in rural India on a large scale.
Further, it is necessary that these kiosks are powered by a hospital for conducting remote consultation; with local merchants for access to equipment and medicines at discounted rates and most importantly, with a FinTech credit provider for the financing of healthcare.
According to World Health Organization, around 469 million people lacked access to regular medicines even before Covid-19. With the unemployment rates soaring rapidly post pandemic, even lesser people would be able to afford standard healthcare, especially in rural areas. However, FinTech in Healthcare Sector could resolve many such issues.
- Digital Health Card and Open Banking API
Through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) or the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), the Government intends to issue Digital Health Cards for all Indian citizens. Such cards would contain all the information on the health records of the concerned citizen, if the citizen chooses to store his health records electronically.
It would guarantee a flexible and convenient system of retrieval of a citizen’s health records(with his permission) by different healthcare stakeholders. This is extremely crucial for the integration of FinTech in the Healthcare sector. For this to be implemented, the private players of FinTech should be able to merge their own data with the Government Application Programming Interface (API).
An API can be compared to a bridge that connects one incompatible software to another. For instance, a private e-commerce app is able to access the bank details of an individual during a financial transaction on that app. This is made possible by API. The bank does not directly engage with third party software. The software (app) requests an information or service (payment) from the bank. The bank receives the same through an API, which is then verified before a payment confirmation is sent back to the original application in the same manner. API is at the core of FinTech in any sector.
Thus, it is important that private players are able to integrate with the centralized system by merging their data with the Government API. It is necessary that FinTech businesses work with the Government to create these Digital Health Cards as it involves substantial question of privacy and finance.
- Payment and Insurance Services at the Grassroot Level
The same software can also be used for extending medical loans to the card-holders if the cards have credit lines bundled to them. There should be a combination of health and lending solutions linked to the Digital Health Card. There is a deep-seated Out of Pocket Expense crisis in India. India’s expenditure in healthcare was around $115 billion in the year 2021 in which $72 billion spent by Indians were not insured. It is extremely crucial that this crisis is mitigated.
FinTech players can also help customers to meet their healthcare needs by introducing 0% interest products for customers and making insurance claim settlements easier. In this manner, private and local clinics would not have to waste time in case of an emergency and they would also possess sufficient working capital.
The FinTech and Health-Tech sector complement each other and have several common characteristics. Both sectors deal with highly confidential data and a need for enhanced security of transactions. There are several privacy and security concerns as well. The FinTech industry already has an established system of conducting highly secure financial transactions, data storage and data exchange.
When Healthcare is furthered through the introduction of digital health records, the technology implemented by the established FinTech companies, it would provide a greater benefit and shall also regulate the privacy concerns of the Healthcare sector. By usage of such technology, the Health industry can protect confidential information like personal details, bank account details and credit card information from hackers and fraudsters of the users. This would further the benefits of Healthcare to the greater masses of population.
In this ever-evolving world of technology, FinTech has revolutionized every sector. Moreover, the application of FinTech in the Healthcare sector brings with it important aspects of concern such as the privacy of citizens, confidentiality of citizens’ medical and personal records and data protection. Guidelines have to be framed in order to ensure that the provisions of The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 have been adhered to and a system of strict legal compliance has to be enforced.
In this rapidly growing digital space, ensuring privacy is one of the foremost challenges that several developed nations are struggling to deal with. FinTech in the Healthcare sector will change the fate of healthcare sector in India. Many health concerns would be easily solved without the involvement of a single human. But at the same time, the possibilities of failure of such machines shall be taken into consideration. The other concerns shall also be considered.
– Team AMLEGALS, assisted by Mr. Subham Bhowal (Intern)
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